Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Highest Adoration

Years ago, Kit Danley spoke at a women's retreat and highly recommended "Disciplines for the Inner Life" by Bob Benson Sr. and Michael Benson. I searched high and low (the edition I have is out of print), and finally found a copy of it, but it was years until I really began to use and enjoy it. It is both a daily, as well as topical devotional, full of many wonderful and thought-provoking quotes and passages from a wealth of Christian writers and thinkers; it is also, in another sense, a prayer book.

As I mentioned earlier, I shared with our Thursday night group not long ago some thoughts on worship, and here is the quote from page 81 that I shared with them:

". . . the highest adoration is not occupied with the recollection of favors received and mercies extended, though they do help one be aware of the true nature of God. There is still, in all such recollection, a remnant of that self-centeredness which it should be the purpose of prayer to escape. In it, we are still thinking of God in terms of something done to "me" and for "me." We never really adore Him, until we arrive at the moment when we worship Him for what He is in Himself, apart from any consideration of the impact of His Divine Selfhood upon our desires and our welfare. Then we love Him for Himself alone." -- From An Autobiography of Prayer by Albert E. Day, quoted in Disciplines for the Inner Life

How do we ever arrive at such pure adoration? I notice so often in our prayer meetings, our times set aside for worship turn quickly into thanksgiving for blessings, or even supplication or petition or intercession. Our private prayer times are not immune from this either. It is easy to say what we want, or even to thank for what we have received; why is it sometimes hard to just focus, and worship HIM, apart from my interests?
On our own, we can't even muster the faith or sight to truly engage in worship this pure. It takes His grace, a vision of the One we love, and the cultivation of a heart that leans towards and longs for Him.

Lord, give us eyes to see YOU - Your beauty, Your power, Your glory, apart from the me-centered context we so often put You in, and therefore see You in. Help me see You for Who You are -- and not just for what You do, or for what You have done, for me.

Day's quote goes on: ". . . it is not what He has done for us or what we expect Him to do for us, but what He has been from eternity before we existed, and what He will be forever whether that "forever" includes us or not -- it is that which captivates us and evokes from us the selfless offering of self in worship. That is pure adoration."

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